Since his passing Wednesday, fans, loved ones, and friends of the late actor James Gandolfini look back on his legacy and fondly remember the good times.
With his kind spirit in mind we look back at the finer moments and quotations of the amiable, shy, and fully warm personality of the man behind Tony Soprano.
Gandolfini financially backed the building Vines, a restaurant in Oneonta, New York for his boyhood chum Clive Griffiths, who needed the investment to make ends meet. Griffiths reimbursed him, with interest.
“I read [The Sopranos pilot]. I liked it. I thought it was good. But I thought they would have to hire some good-looking guy, not George Clooney but some Italian George Clooney, and that would be that. But they called me and they said can I meet David [Chase] for breakfast at nine a.m. At the time I was younger and I stayed out late a lot, and I was like, 'Oh, for f-ck's sake. This guy wants to eat breakfast? This guy's going to be a pain in the ass.'"
In November of 2001, Gandolfini saw a woman being mugged in his native New York. Onlookers were surprised to see the TV and film mobster type-cast step in and rescue a woman when she was knocked down and had her bag snatched.
He once told a reporter “We'd get accused, back then, of glamorizing mobsters, but we were all half miserable you know. I don't think the violence looks appealing at all. Everybody paid for it in a lot of ways. I heard sometimes that we were making cute, cuddly mobsters, but I know for a fact that David wrote an incredibly violent episode — the one where there's a stripper that Ralph Cifaretto beats to death — and I think that was written as a reaction to that. It's a very violent world and, you know, there's consequences. I think we showed it, and I think we showed the toll it takes on people.”
According to an article in the NYT blog, "Mr. Gandolfini once offered to pay for one of his West Village building’s employees to go to college, according to longtime doorman Luiz Rodriguez said.
“He said, ‘If you’re serious, I’ll pay,’ he said.
With reddened eyes downcast, Mr. Rodriguez spoke of how Mr. Gandolfini often returned from walking his dog — a beloved rescue named Duke, according to a neighbor — with gifts for the doormen unbidden, sometimes snacks or a bottle of water, sometimes a spare $100 bill."